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Was the .heic file format created to address the advance features supported by Apple that is not supported by traditional .jpg files:

Live Photos; Depth Map information; Filters used; Lighting modes; Other post edit information that can be rolled back, such as Cropping.

If so, this would be a great wrapper format to handle all advanced features and support portability between devices.

  • On what version of os and hardware are you making Live Photo’s. Builds have been changing, sometime weekly, before iOS 11 gets released. – bmike Sep 13 '17 at 9:47
  • iphone 7+ it looks like the file format also supports multiple frames. I wondered if this was Apples reasoning behind going with this format to contain the live video with the photo itself. This would improve portability. – tommylux Sep 13 '17 at 11:18
  • I’ve been searching for the answer to this all day and nobody seems to have any information, even though a ton of these .heic files must be in the wild now. – jl6 Oct 5 '17 at 21:20
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Digging into my Photos library on my Mac, It doesn't seem so.

I have a live photo taken on my iPad Pro 10.5, which when I dive down into the Masters folder to find, it is saved as a .heic, but only seems to be a still image.

When I go across into the resources/media/master folder, and tracked down all files with the same creation date, I found a matching mov file, just the way Live Photos were previously saved as jpg/mov pairs.

I popped the mov into MediaInfo, it is in hevc, and weighs in at 2.55MB, while the heic is 1.3MB, so it looks like Apple is not packing them together in a single file, at least not yet. Perhaps they plan to do so in the future, but not until there is wider adoption of the HEIF format, or more products out there with HEVC hardware support...? Anyone's guess at this point.

  • I'm actually a bit surprised, I kinda expected that with iOS 11 even the non HEVC devices that could do live photos would pack the jpg/mov pair together in heic files, and the same for burst photos. My thought is that it would be too taxing on older systems that upgrade to High Sierra, and might have made them have to tighten the system requirements more than they wanted, at least with the HEVC ones. The HEIF spec requires the still image being derived from the video stream when both are present in a single file and its not just a thumbnail... – FreelancerJ Oct 29 '17 at 8:25

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